The redevelopment of the World Trade Centre site could be at the heart of a bid by New York for the 2012 Olympics.
New York is one of four American cities vying to host the event; the others are Washington, Houston and San Francisco.

A source at the city's Olympics committee claimed that the authorities wanted to make a bid the focal point of redeveloping lower Manhattan, much of which lay in ruins after the 11 September attacks.

The source said: "I think there is a good chance New York will be chosen. There is a groundswell of support backing it."

The source said the World Trade Centre site could become a transport interchange, which would link to a convention centre and stadium in Manhattan. The stadium is pencilled in for a site next to Penn Street station.

The source said: "The World Trade Centre would be part of the overall rejuvenation. A stadium would need a subway extension, which could link to the site."

The World Trade Centre has been the focus of intense clear-up work since the attack.

Contractors, including Bovis Lend Lease and Amec, were at the centre of the operation, alongside engineers such as Arup and Buro Happold.

Bechtel was reported last month to be taking over the management of the operation, although this has yet to be confirmed.